Equisetum telmateia 

Scope: Global
Language: English

Translate page into:

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Polypodiopsida Equisetales Equisetaceae

Scientific Name: Equisetum telmateia Ehrh.
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Great Horsetail
French Grande Prêle, Prêle élevée
Spanish canutillos
Equisetum eburneum Schreb. ex Rorth
Equisetum macrostachyon Poir.
Equisetum majus Garsault
Equisetum maximum Lam.
Taxonomic Source(s): Pteridophyte Phylogeny Group (PPG I). 2016. A community-derived classification for extant lycophytes and ferns. Journal of Systematics and Evolution 54(6): 563–603. DOI: 10.1111/jse.12229.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2014
Date Assessed: 2013-04-25
Assessor(s): Akhani, H., Zehzad, B. & Brummitt, N.
Reviewer(s): Lansdown, R.V.
Contributor(s): Khela, S., Stanley, C. & Harker, R.
Although there is habitat degradation across the range of Equisetum telmateia, this is not currently affecting the status of this species or threatening its survival; it does not meet any of the IUCN criteria for threatened or Near Threatened status and hence Least Concern is the most appropriate category for this species.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This is a widespread species found across much of Europe, northern Africa, temperate Asia, and western North America (USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program 2012). It occurs from sea level up to 2,000 m asl.
Countries occurrence:
Albania; Algeria; Armenia; Austria; Azerbaijan; Belarus; Belgium; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Canada; Croatia; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Egypt; France (Corsica, France (mainland)); Georgia; Germany; Greece (East Aegean Is., Greece (mainland), Kriti); Hungary; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Ireland; Israel; Italy (Italy (mainland), Sardegna, Sicilia); Latvia; Lebanon; Libya; Lithuania; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Malta; Moldova; Montenegro; Morocco; Netherlands; Palestinian Territory, Occupied; Poland; Portugal (Madeira, Portugal (mainland)); Romania; Russian Federation; Serbia; Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain (Baleares, Spain (mainland)); Sweden; Switzerland; Syrian Arab Republic; Tunisia; Turkey (Turkey-in-Asia, Turkey-in-Europe); Ukraine (Krym, Ukraine (main part)); United Kingdom (Great Britain, Northern Ireland); United States
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):2000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


There is no information available on population trends in this species but it is locally widespread and abundant.

Current Population Trend:Increasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:No
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Equisetum telmateia is a deciduous herb found in open habitats, eroding sea and river cliffs, roadsides and railway embankments growing in base rich clay soils on sites with permanent seepage and on porous clay rocks (Online Atlas of the British and Irish Flora 2012). In Northern Iran it occurs along shallow rivers in forest zones, forest margins, degraded forests along streams and water runners, road sides, at the margin of wetlands, and sometimes as a weedy plant in wastelands and on the margins of paddy fields.
Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:No

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: A plant used in traditional medicine for its anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties and antioxidant activity of aqueous extract (infusion) or as a decoction to stop excess urinating. A poultice of the rough leaves and stems is applied to cuts and sores (Correia et al. 2005, Plants for a Future 2012). It is also used for its antibacterial properties to treat infections. In Turkey, at least, it is one of the most commonly used plants (Uzun et al. 2004). The root and fertile shoots can be eaten cooked and the stems are used for making floor polish. In Iran used as a medicinal plant in traditional medicine for a variety of purposes including kidney stones and against cancer, blood coagulation and bladder tension (Ghorbanalizadeh 2011).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

There is evidence of localized habitat degradation in some areas where this species occurs, however, this is not thought to be severe enough to pose a threat to the species currently or in the near future. The species appears to be tolerant of some disturbance as it grows in wastelands and agricultural areas like paddy fields.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It is described as rare in the Czech Republic (Holub and Procházka 2000) and is listed as Critically Endangered in the national red lists of Belarus (Ermakova 2005) and Sweden (Gärdenfors 2010). However, it is classed as Least Concern in a number of countries including Denmark (NERI 2007), Germany (Ludwig and Schnittler 1996), Luxembourg (Colling 2005), Switzerland (Moser et al. 2002) and the United Kingdom (Cheffings and Farrell 2005).

In Sweden, conservation efforts have been made but it is argued that gradual population declines will eventually lead to its unavoidable extinction which may be characteristic for populations of long-lived perennials on drained or otherwise damaged sites. In such situations, it may be questioned whether conservation efforts, known to only postpone the extinction, are worthwhile (Mattiasson 2000).

The few known localities of this plant outside of the forest zone of the East Mediterranean requires conservation specially against converting of its habitat for agricultural purposes.


Citation: Akhani, H., Zehzad, B. & Brummitt, N. 2014. Equisetum telmateia. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T203004A42315452. . Downloaded on 17 July 2018.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided